Sandra is looking for volunteers to join her on short field trips between now and Christmas. She'll be working with bat detectors and invertebrate traps at various sites in the beautiful Otway Ranges.
A reasonable level of fitness is required for walking short distances through the bush to sites without established walking tracks.
All food, accommodation, coffee etc. will be provided. Upcoming dates are:
Sun 15 – Mon 16
Sun 5 – Mon 6
Sat 11 – Sun 12
Sun 3 – Mon 4
Sun 10 – Mon 11
If you’d like to join in or find out more, please contact Sandra.
The results of our new paper, available as an Ecological Applications Preprint, suggest that use of patchy fire to break up large expanses of mature vegetation may enhance ecosystem function.
We studied the responses of bird functional diversity to TSF and two direct measures of environmental variation. Six bird functional traits (body mass, clutch size, food type, foraging behaviour, foraging location and nest form) were used to calculate functional diversity.
Functional richness was negatively related to TSF, suggesting that recent prescribed fire creates patchy vegetation and provides greater opportunities for species to partition resources. Buff-rumped Thornbill and Superb Fairy-wren were among the seven species more common in young vegetation than old, and all seven species build dome-shaped nests. This nest type offers better camouflage and shelter against predation than more open nests, but we lack a definitive explanation as to why dome-shaped nest-builders prefer younger vegetation.
We suggest that controlled use of patchy prescribed fire to break up large expanses of mature vegetation is likely to help sustain functional diversity.
Fire Ecology and Biodiversity at UniMelb
Bushfire Behaviour and Management at UniMelb
Quantitative & Applied Ecology Group at UniMelb
Integrated Forest Ecosystem Research at UniMelb